We have good news for you. You can have a cool career and make a good living. No need to choose between loving your job and paying your mortgage. The following profile, part of the BlackEnterprise.com Cool Jobs series, offers a peek into the nuts and bolts, perks and salaries behind enjoyable careers.
The It Factor: Recently honored at The Network Journal’s 40 under 40 Achievement Awards, marketing maven Brooke Ellis serves as diversity media manager for General Motors. She directs diversity media operations for all GM brands, including Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac, GMC and OnStar. Ellis is responsible for overseeing multi-platform consumer media plans for the multicultural market while also managing diversity agency relationships. “I work with them to help them understand and build their strategy for multicultural targets and then I identify media partners to leverage their creative material,” Ellis says.
The Defining Moment: The Hampton University alum says she was motivated to pursue marketing through internships and mentors during her college career. “When I was in school, I was selected to be an ambassador for MasterCard,” Ellis says. “Through that program, we learned about the marketing strategy for MasterCard, and we had to go back to our campuses and basically come up with a marketing campaign from start to finish. That allowed me to get my foot in the door, and I really enjoyed it. I knew that marketing was an area that I wanted to stay in.”
The Process: The best part of Ellis’s job is increasing opportunities for minority-owned vendors, she explains “That’s a passion point for me because I consume minority-own media and I understand the importance of it,” she says. One of Ellis’s favorite quotes is: Always shoot for excellence versus mediocrity. “My mom has always taught me to never be satisfied with what’s in front of me and to strive for more,” she says. “That’s what I live by and it’s worked for me so far.”
Power of Mentorship: Now that the shoe is on the other foot, Ellis enjoys inspiring and educating others about the opportunities that are in her field. “There are so many people who think there’s only one way to get into marketing or who don’t know of the many facets of the industry.” Ellis explains that the importance of mentorship doesn’t end at graduation. “After coming to GM, this is the first time that I’ve sat down with a mentor who has helped me map out the next steps of how to get to my ultimate career goal,” Ellis says. “Because marketing is so broad, you need to have a clear path or guidance on what it takes to be an advertising, public relations or marketing executive. It’s hard to navigate the system unless you have somebody to help guide you.”
The Advice: Ellis suggests networking with key players of the company in order to get insight on your career goals. “If you want to be the chief marketing officer, an advertising director, or own your own media agency, find someone who’s at the top of the work chart and talk to them. Try to get a good understanding of how to get to where they are. That way you can understand what that role entails and it will help you get into the mindset of what steps you need to take to get there.”